American Women: Elizabeth Heard


Kindness has resistless charms.

Why should’st thou faint? Heaven smiles above,
Though storm and vapor intervene.
                                                Park Benjamin

Mrs. Elizabeth Heard, “a widow of good estate, a mother of many children and a daughter of Mr. Hull, a revered minister formerly living at Pisquataqua,” was among the sufferers from captivity by the Indians in the latter part of the seventeenth century. She was taken at the destruction of Major Waldron’s garrison in Dover, New Hampshire, about 1689. She was permitted to escape on account of a favor which she had shown a young Indian thirteen years before – she having secreted him in her house on the “calamitous day,” in 1676, when four hundred savages were surprised in Dover.*

Having been suffered to escape, writes the Rev. John Pike, minister at Dover, to Dr, Cotton Mather, “she soon after safely arrived at Captain Gerish’s garrison, where she found a refuge from the storm. Here she also had the satisfaction to understand that her own garrison, though one of the first that was assaulted, had been bravely defended and succesfully maintained against the enemy. This gentlewoman’s garrison was on the most extreme frontier of the province, and more obnoxious than any other, and therefore incapable of being relieved. Nevertheless, by her presence and courage it held out all the war, even for ten years together; and the persons in it have enjoyed very eminent preservations. It would have been deserted if she had accepted offers that were made her by her friends to abandon it and retire to Portsmouth among them, which would have been a damage to the town and land.”

*Drake’s Indian Captivities


Excerpted from Noble Deeds of American Women
(Patriotic Series for Boys and Girls)
Edited by J. Clement
With an Introduction by Mrs. L. H. Sigourney
BOSTON: Lee and Shepard, Publishers
Entered by Act of Congress, in the year of 1851,
by E. H. Derby and Co., in the Clerk’s Office of the Northern District of New York

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